Insurance Company Says Oklahoma State Breached Contract

February 8, 2010

The insurance company sued by billionaire booster T. Boone Pickens and Oklahoma State University’s athletic fundraising foundation claims the university breached its contract and has no right to recover $33 million in premiums.

Lincoln National Life Insurance Co. filed a separate lawsuit against Cowboy Athletics Inc. in federal court in Dallas last week. It says the school’s representatives waited too long to cancel the insurance polices and are not entitled to a refund.

At issue is the school’s “Gift of a Lifetime” program, which involved taking out $10 million insurance policies on 27 supporters with the university as the beneficiary. OSU believed it would raise millions of dollars through the effort.

The university filed its own lawsuit in Oklahoma last week, claiming that Lincoln National Life agents fabricated information that led the school to believe the program would be a sound investment strategy.

The fundraising plan was announced in March 2007 but the school claims it did not receive the actual terms of the policies until two years later, when the third annual premium of $16.6 million was due, and decided at that time to cancel.

However, Lincoln National Life claims that Oklahoma State athletic director Mike Holder acknowledged receiving the policies in 2007, making the premiums nonrefundable when the policies were canceled last year.

Lincoln National Life spokeswoman Ayele Ajavon said that the company would not comment on pending litigation. A phone message left for Dallas attorney Andrew Jubinsky, who filed the company’s lawsuit, was not immediately returned.

OSU spokesman Gary Shutt said the school also had no comment beyond its court filing and a written statement that highlighted its details.

The university, in the lawsuit filed jointly with Pickens, claims the insurance company charged inflated premiums and its projections that the program could make $350 million over 20 to 25 years were “pure conjecture.” Pickens, a Texas oilman who has donated hundreds of millions of dollars to the university, was credited with presenting the idea for the program to his alma mater. He also serves on the Cowboy Athletics board of directors.

The lawsuit says Pickens provided approximately $10 million to help Cowboy Athletics obtain and keep loans to pay the premiums.

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